Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday: Don't Mess With Texas Edition

First of all, thank you for everyone who responded so nicely to my last Top Ten Tuesday post. I feel very special and realize that I already have some wonderful friends here in Texas. So this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is...

Top Ten Reasons I Love Where I'm Living in Texas

10. There are lots of shopping options including outlet malls! Not that I have time or money to shop but it's nice to know they are out there when I need them.

9. A wonderful recycling program--sounds cheesy, but I love being able to toss just about everything into the recycling instead of the trash.

8. The benefits of a suburb. I love living in a quiet place with all the conveniences of a big city close by (zoo, aquarium, etc.).

7. The weather. Yes, the summers are HOT! but the fall is beautiful so far. I see us being outside most of the fall, winter and spring.

6. The local yarn shop. Well, it's sort of local. It's about 20 minutes away but it is wonderful. TONS of beautiful yarn and really helpful staff. I heard them say to many a customer--just bring in your swatch. Knitting Daily would be proud.

5. It's very family-friendly. There are good schools, tons of parks, playgrounds, library story times and lots of other fun activities.

4. I'm only 4 hours from Nicole!

3. My neighborhood park, playground, fish pond, pools and sprinkler pad.

2. My house--4 bedrooms (room for all of us and a guest room), a master bathroom (no sharing with the boys), a great open living area and tons of storage (including huge closets, tons of kitchen cabinets, and a large pantry).

1. The wonderful moms and children in our neighborhood meetup group. They are so welcoming and nice. Many are transplants like me and understand my situation. I love how many of the moms have blogs too. This one is absolutely hilarious (she says everything the rest of us think but don't dare to say). This one makes you think. These two are just so true to life as a mom.

I feel so lucky we've found a wonderful place to live. I feel so blessed to have Brian and the boys. I don't think I'll live in Texas for the rest of my life, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. I've always wanted to say, "Don't Mess with Texas!"

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm back!

Well, we replaced our computer and I am back to blogging. So much has happened that I don't know where to start.

My good friend Nicole came to visit from Austin and she brought her son Will. Will is only 2 weeks younger than John and the two of them had a blast together. Nicole is a wonderfully sweet person and lots of fun. Both of my boys immediately fell in love with her. It was very strange to have John NOT want me to do everything for him. He wanted "Cole" instead. Nicole had Norm smiling and laughing too. Will was great fun although he wasn't always happy about sharing him mom. I don't blame him--I wanted her all to myself too!

A few days after Will and Nicole went home, the boys and I flew to Virginia to visit with my family. The flights were not quite as nice as they were in July, but both boys did pretty well. (On one flight, John let out a little "I'm tired and bored" squeal and a man actually yelled "Gee, Shut up, kid!" Nice, huh? Oh well.) I'm still glad that our next time flying (for Thanksgiving) will be with Brian and not on our own. We had a lot of fun in Virginia as always. My parents were wonderful hosts and both boys had lots of fun with "Mooma" and "Papa." We also got to see a lot of my sister and her two children. The biggest excitement of our trip was getting to celebrate Reed, Mary and Madeline's birthdays. My brother's triplets turned 1 year old this weekend and we had so much fun at their party. John grilled up some delicious burgers and hotdogs and Shelley made the most fun cupcakes. The triplets were adorable. Reed dug right into his cake and ate most of it. Madeline just poked hers with her finger and spread it around on her tray. Mary ended up covered up to her elbows in icing and then decided she had had enough. They all seem so grown up. Both Mary and Madeline are walking already and Reed should be soon. My oldest nephew Michael is in Kindergarten this year and seems like he's about 10 all of a sudden. It was weird not to have him around because he was in school. It was wonderful to get to hang out with everybody and to watch John having so much fun with his grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins.Norm and my oldest niece Lizzie.John and my oldest nephew Michael coloring. Got to love those cheesy grins.Lizzie and my nephew Joe. They are 12 days apart. My mom sometimes calls them "the twins."At the birthday party--my mom, Norm and Michael.The three oldest cousins: Lizzie, Michael and Joe. Nice ad for Motts for Tots juice.Mary, Reed and Madeline eating their birthday lunch of cheese toast and lima beans.My sister-in-law Shelley (mom of Joe and the triplets--doesn't she look amazing?), her wonderful sitter Nicole and Mary.The birthday cakes, cupcakes and hats.Mary, Reed and Madeline with their birthday cakes.

Talking of family, this weekend Brian's sister Kristin arrives with her husband and one year old son. I can't wait!

That's all I have time for now. More blogging to come. Hope you all are doing well!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Our computer has died. I rarely get a chance to borrow Brian's laptop. Forced blog break will occur. Hope to blog again soon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday: Where's My Grocery Store Edition

We're getting settled in here in Texas. It's been a fun week.

On Monday, John, Norm and I joined a bunch of other moms and children at our neighborhood park/playground/pond for a breakfast picnic. Everyone brought food to share (we brought mini waffles--Earth's Best because they had Cookie Monster on the box). The children had a great time playing on the playground and feeding the fish. The moms enjoyed chatting. Norm was sweet enough to take his morning nap in the stroller so John and I could be social longer. John was actually playing with (not just near, but with) a few of the children by the end of the morning. Very exciting!

Brian is out of town until Wednesday so one of our neighbors invited the boys and I over to her house for dinner. She has two boys (3 1/2 years and 1 1/2 years) and her husband is also out of town. We've met at a few different "meetups," but this is our first time hanging out just us and our boys. I'm really excited. Not only is she really nice, but she's a fellow Virginian.

So the week is off to a good start and it's only going to get more exciting because on Thursday my good friend Nicole arrives from Austin. She's driving up with her son Will who is 2 weeks younger than John. I can't wait to spend some time with a close friend. I can't wait to see how much fun John and Will are going to have together. I can't wait for someone to come see our new home.

Despite our fun week, I'm feeling a bit homesick these days. Thus, this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is...

Top Ten Things I Miss About Living in Ohio
10. Lake Erie. I miss being close to water. I hear there are lakes around here--I just haven't found them yet.

9. My grocery store. I've tried four different ones here so far. Nothing as good as Heinen's yet.

8. Knowing where everything is. I'm finding my way around, but I miss just knowing where the closest _________ (fill-in-the-blank with store/restaurant of your choice) is.

7. My backyard. My big beautiful tree, squirrel, and bird-filled backyard. I think Zoe and John miss it too.

6. Trees. Big, full grown trees. Everything's too new around here to have great old trees.

5. Pauli. I know she's not in Ohio, but she was with me when I was there and I miss her so much.

4. Being in the same time zone as my mom. We used to talk every morning on her way to work. Now I'm usually in the shower at that time.

3. Being only 8 hours away from my family in Virginia.

2. Friends and family. I miss chatting with my next-door neighbors over the backyard fence. I miss Sunday night dinners with my in-laws. I miss being able to call up a friend and plan a last minute gathering any day of the week. I miss going to a playdate and just relaxing because I know John is comfortable and happy.

1. The feeling of belonging, of truly belonging. I've had little tastes of it here, but I'm not there yet.

Movie Monday: "I Ting" and "Who Me?" Edition

Ike has come and gone. We only got some rain and wind as we were in the far western edge of the storm. John and Brian had fun playing in the rain on Saturday afternoon. Brian and I managed to make a dent in the beer, but the rest of the emergency supplies sat untouched. I guess we were the lucky ones. Houston and Galveston were not so lucky.

On a lighter note, it's Movie Monday and the boys have been very funny recently so we have two videos to share today.

The first is "I Ting": John singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

The second is "Who Me?": Norm making his favorite new noise (raspberries). He stops as soon as he sees that you're watching him. It's pretty funny. It's like he's talking to himself and doesn't want anyone to know his secrets.

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope it's a great one.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Prepared for Ike?

They say that Ike should hit the Dallas area around Saturday night with lots of rain and wind. We've been told to be prepared for possible power outages that will affect our water and gas supplies. I asked Brian to run to the store to pick up some essentials just in case.

This is what he bought:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Photo Friday: Rainbow Cardigan Edition

I finished John's Rainbow Cardigan. Lots of rainbowy goodness. I like the way the inside looks so much, I almost turned it inside out.
I forced John to model his sweater during a hot and humid Texas afternoon.
Are we done yet?
Silliness ensued.
Norm likes the sweater too.
He thinks it tastes delicious!

Pattern: Kid's Top-down Raglan by Gail Tanquary (Ann Norling #53)
Pattern Style I used: Crewneck Cardigan
Size: 4
Yarn: Patons Astra (100% Acrylic) (50g/ 1.75 oz/approx. 133yd)
Color: Paint Box Varg.
I used about 2 1/2 skeins.
Gauge (for me): 5 stitches/inch on Size 6 needles
Needles: Size 6 and Size 4 (24" circular)
Buttons: to be decided

For more info on this pattern, see this post about Norm's cardigan (same pattern, smaller size).


Just realized it's September 11th today. Can't believe it's been 7 years already. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who lost a loved one.

No Time to Blog; Be My Groupie

Can't believe it's Thursday already. It's been a busy week. Mainly I've been too busy knitting to blog. Happy Times! I finished John's sweater and am over halfway done with Norm's first Moc-a-Soc. Unfortunately, it's been raining so no good sweater pics yet. Will get those as soon as possible. John's in school and Norm's napping so I'm off to clean my bathrooms again. Bathroom cleaning makes me miss my old house.
Old House = 2 toilets, 2 sinks, 1 bathtub/shower
New House = 3 toilets, 4 sinks, 1 bathtub/shower, 1 shower, 1 garden tub

Have a good one!

P.S. Notice the new "Followers" section on the righthand side of this blog. Feel free to click on it and become one of my "followers" or "groupies" as I prefer to think of you. I know it's silly, but it would make me happy to have groupies, I mean followers. Thanks!

P.P.S. Bonus pic of my darling John.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Movie Monday: Nemo Saves the Trip to the Aquarium Edition

Yesterday we went to the Dallas Aquarium. John seemed very excited about seeing fish, but when we arrived at the aquarium we realized that he thought we were feeding fish like the ones in the pond at our neighborhood park. He didn't want to go inside the aquarium. He wasn't happy about the aquarium at all...until we saw "Nemo." Once Nemo was spotted all was better. Here is a video of John enjoying Nemo and some other photos from our trip.

The "Nemo" fish tank was by far John's favorite part of the aquarium.I thought these upside down jellyfish were really cool.A sea apple.A seahorse.Norm was totally unaware of the stingrays behind him.The aquarium is located in Fair Park (the location of the Texas State Fair) which has several museums, a stadium and lots of other things including this lake. The lake was complete with lillypads, jumping fish, lots of algae and a pigeon. John LOVED it! He enjoyed finding little bits of nature to throw in the water. He kept trying to give the pigeon a stick.In case we forgot what state we were in.They were setting up this exhibit while we were here. We got to see some owls, a bald eagle, and some other large birds of prey up close and personal. John was really excited.Even the bathroom sign is "Texas-ized."The aquarium was in the shadow of the Ferris wheel. Cool, huh?

Happy Monday! Hope it's a great one!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happiest Baby on the Block

Well, Norm is quickly getting the reputation around here for being a very happy baby. It's a well-deserved reputation as he really is one of the happiest babies I have ever met. He rarely cries and is quick to flash a smile at anyone nice enough to talk to him. Today I was being my usual goofy self and was singing "I Feel Good" to Norm while dancing with him. He started smiling and talking and then gave me the greatest laugh. It was music to my ears. It was his first laugh, a great laugh that came from somewhere deep down in his precious little belly. It was a wonderful moment. One I hope to always remember. Oh Norm, may you always be this happy.